Wollongong businessmen fined $2 million for illegal lobster haul off Illawarra coast

Seacliff Function's Andrew Harrison, The Lagoon head chef Emanuel Efstathiadis and Illawarra Hawks sponsor Tory Lavalle have all been fined over an illegal lobster haul.
Seacliff Function's Andrew Harrison, The Lagoon head chef Emanuel Efstathiadis and Illawarra Hawks sponsor Tory Lavalle have all been fined over an illegal lobster haul.

A group of Illawarra businessmen involved in the illegal overfishing of Eastern rock lobster off the Illawarra coast have been penalised more than $2 million.

In a judgment handed down at Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday, magistrate David Williams imposed fines of $836,000, awarded legal costs of $492,000 and stripped the fishing company at the centre of the scam of almost $800,000 worth of shares in the state lobster management scheme.

The bulk of the fines ($378,000) were handed to fishing company Lochiel South and Seacliff Functions ($398,000) which purchased the lobsters to sell at its eateries The Lagoon and Seacliff Restaurant.

Wollongong businessman and Illawarra Hawks sponsor Tory Lavalle, was fined $40,000 in his role as a director of Lochiel South.

The Lagoon head chef Emanuel Efstathiadis was fined $20,000 and handed a suspended jail sentence for acting as the conduit between the fishing company and the restaurant.

In an earlier judgment, the mastermind of the scheme, Wollongong fisherman Pasquale Brancatisano, was jailed for at least two years and fined $76,000.